Timbre @ Gillman – Super Social BBQ

Before the kids came along, we went out at night. A lot. Weekends were usually spent hanging with our friends: choir practices, arcade gaming (yes!), movies, pub-crawling. One of the places we used to go to was Timbre @ The Substation – how could we say no to awesome live music, good grub (ROAST DUCK PIZZA YUM YUM) and ice cold beer?

Me and the girlfriend at Timbre @ Substation waaaaaay back in...2007

Me and the girlfriend at Timbre @ Substation waaaaaay back in…2007

Then we had kids. Overnight (HUR HUR PUN), our nightlife disappeared. We were either putting the babies to bed or nursing (okay, I was nursing) or sitting zonked on the sofa or snoring in our beds. We were, and still are, exhausted. We stopped heading out to nightspots.

And then Timbre contacted me and told me about their Super Social BBQ. Huh, what’s that? you might ask. Well, GOOD NEWS FORMER NIGHT CRAWLERS, you can now have your cake and eat it too.

Essentially, Super Social BBQ is a weekend event at Timbre @ Gillman which is family-friendly. That’s right, you heard me. Kids-friendly. Child-friendly. Toddler-friendly. Everybody-friendly. Every month, Timbre @ Gillman runs a themed event on all Saturdays and Sundays that is especially catered to families, starting from 4pm.

Have you been to the Gillman outlet? Well, I hadn’t, until I received the invitation and I was super impressed. The restaurant retained its rustic, super chill vibe, which is cool, but what was even cooler was that gigantic backyard behind the eatery. During the weekends, the backyard turns into a play area for the kids – you can expect bouncy castles, wading pools and live BBQ.

When I was there, it was storming outside so we didn’t spend much time outdoors. Timbre had thoughtfully set up an activity station indoors, where kids could colour or get their faces painted or do some crafting. There was even a balloon sculptor onsite. My boys ended up putting together a carousel – in line with the Carnival theme for November – out of paper plate, paper cup, pipe cleaners and paper cutouts.

Other than providing fun activities, Timbre @ Gillman also put together a menu just for the kids. There are items such as bolognaise, chicken and pancakes, minute steak and cheese frites and fish & chips, all affordably priced below $15. We ordered the bolognaise with heart shape pasta ($10) for the littles to share and the portion was more than enough for them.

As for the adults? I was honestly pretty darned happy to be there. I could indulge in my roast duck pizza once again and wash it down with an chilled alcoholic ginger beer. There was a live band playing. It really made me nostalgic for those days when we could stay out till the wee hours without a care, swigging our beers and making merry.

In fact, I was feeling so sentimental, I decided to order me an earl grey martini (my first martini since FOREVER). It was so surprisingly good that I cheered up immediately.

The mark of a true family-friendly restaurant is in the happiness level of all members of the family. Did Timbre @ Gillman’s Super Social BBQ hit the mark? I will say YASSSSSS. My boisterous boys had fun participating in the activities and they especially loved the live band. They were gleefully dancing after shoving the pasta and pizza into their mouths. The man and I were thrilled to be out at a nightspot once again, eating the grub that we had loved.

We had so much fun that I started making plans with our friends and their kids to check it out again!

The Carnival edition of the Super Social BBQ will run till this weekend! For more information, check out their Facebook page.

Disclaimer: I was invited to Timbre @ Gillman for dinner and given dining credits. However, all opinions are solely mine (and totally honest!) and no other monetary compensation was received.

Recipe: Meat sauce, Bolognese style

One of my go-to recipes is spaghetti bolognese. It’s simple to make, hearty and chock full of goodness. It’s one of Aidan’s favourite dish – he never fails to finish his portion off. And to top it off? I can add loads and loads of veggies into the dish and he is none the wiser.

(Yes, we are in the “no veggies” phase now. RARRR.)

Of all the spag bol recipes that I have tried, the one by Mark Bitman is my favourite. Preparation is easy, it requires minimal attention AND it tastes awesome to boot. I love to whip up a HUGE batch to freeze for days when I have very little time in between classes to take my lunch. And this is definitely one of the dishes that tastes so good as a leftover.

Because I am all about the sharing, here’s the recipe that I adapted from Mark Bitman.

Meat sauce, Bolognese style

Ingredients
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 small carrots, peeled and minced
3 celery stalk, minced
3 slices chopped bacon
500g minced beef
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 can of tomatoes
280ml chicken or beef stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup milk
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

IMG_4507

Method
Put the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and bacon and sautee until veggies are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the ground meat, stirring and breaking up any clumps, cooking until all traces of red are gone, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, raise the heat a little and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Dump the canned tomatoes to the meat and then add the stock. Bring the heat to low and cook at a slow simmer, stirring occassionally and break up any big pieces of meat or tomatoes as you go.

After an hour or so*, add salt and pepper. Stir well and simmer for another hour, or until much of the liquid is evaporated. The sauce should be pretty thick by now (this is also the point where you may freeze the sauce).

Add in the milk cook for another 15 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Serve immediately with any cooked pasta (angel hair for the adults and animal pasta for the kid) with grated Parmesan on top.

*This is where you go out and put something on the telly while you wait. It was a rerun of Asia’s Next Top Models the other day. Mmm. Not a good idea watching glamazonian girls strut their stuff on the screen while a pot of pasta is bubbling away on the stove, eh. I must have eaten an extra serving of the pasta that evening.

This post was written in collaboration with Zalora.

Solids and baby-led weaning

I’m a lazy mum.

There, I’ve said it. I am terribly lazy. I don’t do stuff like hand wash my baby’s clothes separately, for instance. Who has time for that?! And when it comes to feeding the baby solids, I do not ever puree.

Truth be told, I find steaming and blending baby foods a chore. No number of gadgets can convince me that feeding them puree is the way to go. Sure, they have no teeth but have you tried sticking your finger into those gummy mouths? The toothless grins belie strong jaws that can chomp down hard on ANYTHING.

And so I opted for baby-led weaning.


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GIVEAWAY: Healthy snack attack!

A few weeks ago, a box bearing edible goodies reached our doorstep. Try them, said Foodpath, the company distributing these snacks, and let us know what you think.

Well, we did and we liked the snacks so much, we decided to write about them (even though we didn’t have to).

Now, what Aidan lacks in the sleep department, he makes up for it in the eating stakes. This kid can eat. Granted, he has his finicky moments when he doesn’t eat stuff that he is supposed to – like veggies – but all in all, he has a healthy appetite and loves food.

These days, he is also big on snacking. Kid loves his snacks so much, he goes into the kitchen regularly to ask for “biscuit” and “tnack”. Unfortunately, mean mum here doesn’t indulge him, hah! He doesn’t get chocolates or chips or sweets at all. I try to feed him wholemeal bread with a smidgen of unsweetened jam or fruit whenever he has hunger pangs between meals but there are times when he is absolutely insistent on the crunchy stuff. I don’t blame him. His parents have a weakness for chips after all, gah.

Luckily, the box that we received from Foodpath contain all sorts of snacks that this nazi mum (yes, the husband called me that once, I have been meaning to write about it) will gladly let her toddler eat.

snacks
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The Bank Bar + Bistro

My family, we love our weekend breakfasts. Doesn’t matter if it’s Asian food or Western fare, we take our first meal of the day very, VERY seriously.

Actually, we take ALL our meals very seriously. But never mind about that.

Anyway, one Saturday morning, we made our way down to The Bank Bar + Bistro for breakfast. It was ridiculously bright and early, we reached the eatery at a previously unearthly hour of 830am. Want to turn over a new leaf and become the early bird? HAVE A CHILD.

I had first heard of The Bank from Corsage many months back, when she first visited. It was filed in my brains as a “to visit” but given how leaky my memory has been since Aidan was born, I promptly forgot about it. Recently, Zee wrote about visiting it with her littles and it triggered my memory. Told husband about it in passing, who then surprised me by making a reservation for the following weekend.

When we got there, we were pleasantly surprised by how child-friendly the restaurant was. The table was equipped with a highchair, colouring paper and a cup full of colour pencils to keep Mr A occupied. There was also a playroom filled with toys, a TV and sofas. And, most impressively, we were informed by the staff that kids get to eat for free on weekends (one free child’s meal for every adult main course ordered).

YAY! I DON’T HAVE TO SHARE MY FOOD WITH MY KID!

Papa showing Aidan his homework


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